best boat brands and manufacturers

10 Best Boat Brands & Manufacturers: 2024 Edition

Written by Lenny Rudow
February 3, 2022

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

A key advantage of booking through Boatsetter is that you can try before you buy with all kinds of boat sizes, boat styles and boat brands.

At first, though, the sheer quantity of brands may feel overwhelming, especially if you’re new to boating and just learning about all the different boat manufacturers. A good place to start is with some of the top-selling, well-established boat brands that have been around for a while, so you can get a feel for the wide variety of boats and models that exist.

Here’s a look at 10 of the best boat brands and manufacturers to get you started (listed in no particular order, and selected by category).

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2013 beneteau oceanis 37

10 Best Boat Brands & Manufacturers: 2023 Edition is now available!

1. Beneteau

Category: Best Sailboat Boat Brand

Beneteau is a French boat brand that got its start way back in 1884. Today, Beneteau builds powerboats and sailboats alike, with six lines and 19 models of sailboats alone. Sailboats that Beneteau calls its heritage models—meaning they are no longer available new—are often available for bookings. Many owners keep their Beneteau sailboats for years or decades, because the boat brand is a proven pedigree that includes smart, comfortable features for sailing.

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super air nautique boats

2. Nautique Boats

Category: Best Watersports Boat Brand

Nautique, which is well known for building the line of Super Air Nautique models, specializes in boats for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and other watersports, and they also have Ski Nautique models for water skiing. A Super Air Nautique boat, in particular, will have different styling and features than other boats the same size, to create things like better behind-the-boat wakes, and to make sure everybody on board has a good view of the action. The Nautique boat brand is also a leader creating “sculpted” wakes for surfing, with ballast, wave plates, and digital controls that work together to allow individuals to choose the shape and size of the wakes they ride.

You’ll find a few of the Super Air Nautique models listed within our Electric Boats page.

boston whaler

3. Boston Whaler Boats

Category: Best Saltwater Fishing Boat Brand

Boston Whaler is a Florida boat manufacturer that got its start building boats over 60 years ago, often for local fishing guides as well as family anglers. Today, Boatsetter customers can often find Boston Whaler models that owners have decked out for whatever kind of fishing is best in their local waters. Features can include lighted baitwells, insulated fishboxes, out-of-the-way stowage for fishing rods, casting decks and more. Some also have booming sound systems for rock ’n’ rolling your way to and from the fishing grounds. Best of all, these boats are known for being completely unsinkable thanks to a fiberglass-foam-fiberglass construction method. That adds some serious peace of mind when you take the kids out for a day of fishing.

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tracker boats bass boat

4. Tracker Boats

Category: Best Freshwater Fishing Boat Brand

The manufacturer Tracker Boats is based in Missouri, where it builds numerous types of boats with a specialty in modified-V, deep-V, and Jon boat style aluminum fishing boats. Its Bass Tracker is—as you might guess from the name—all about fishing. Most Bass Trackers are equipped with an electric trolling motor, which is quieter than a traditional outboard motor so there’s less chance of scaring away the fish. These boats also usually come with features like fishfinders, pedestal fishing seats, and livewells, which makes them some of the best freshwater fishing boats around.

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sea ray sundancer

5. Sea Ray

Category: Best Yacht Brand

Sea Ray is one of the most popular boat brands on the water and is part of Brunswick Corporation, which owns more than a dozen boat manufacturers as well as companies that make boat engines, parts and accessories. The company builds many different boat models ranging from runabouts to yachts, but its Sundancer series is so popular that it dates back more than 40 years. Sea Ray Sundancers come in various sizes and both outboard and stern drive versions, and are outfitted for family fun on the water, with safely enclosed seating up front for the kids, comfortable cabins, and protection from the sun when needed.

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godfrey pontoon boats

6. Godfrey Pontoon Boats

Category: Best Pontoon Boat Brand

Godfrey Pontoon Boats has been in business for more than 60 years. It builds seven different styles of pontoon boats which account for more than two dozen models in all. These boats can be found with quite a few types of layouts, with some better for lounging, others better for onboard dining, and still others better for fishing or entertaining. Godfrey Pontoon Boats are a good option for anyone wanting to try before they buy, because this boat brand can help you experience different types of boating in the same overall length of pontoon boat.

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bayliner element 18 2019

7. Bayliner

Category: Best Day Cruising Boat Brand

Bayliner is another boat brand that is part of Brunswick Corporation. Bayliner builds deck boats, center consoles and runabouts—which are different styles of boats that families tend to choose for a day of cruising with a little bit of watersports fun or fishing mixed in. Unlike specialty fishing or wakesports boats, Bayliner boats are more versatile, for people who want to try a bit of everything. These boats can be fully open to the sun or (in the case of center consoles) have hardtops that provide some shade.

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seadoo spark

8. Sea-Doo

Category: Best Personal Watercraft (PWC) Brand

Sea-Doo was one of the first-ever personal watercraft (PWC) brands to be mass-manufactured, and it is still a leading manufacturer of personal watercraft today. Various versions of Sea-Doos are made for all kinds of fun on the water: basic touring with one or more riders, performing jumps and tricks, and they even have a line with three models designed for fishing. Sea-Doos can have sound systems on board, as well as space to pack a cooler. The ride they provide is thrilling, and many models can achieve speeds of over 60 mph.

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duffy boats 18 snug harbor

9. Duffy Boats

Category: Best Electric Boat Brand

Duffy is a boat manufacturer whose name is synonymous with electric boats. The company has built them since 1970 for people who want to enjoy shorter-distance cruises, slower speed (top-end in this case is six mph), and near-silent boating in a relaxed way with friends and family. There are four Duffy models from 18’ to 22’, and all of them offer a canopy or hardtop to provide some shade from the elements. Duffy boats have lots of seating as well as tables for onboard dining, depending on how they are outfitted.

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yamaha boats

10. Yamaha

Category: Best Speedboat Brand

Yamaha boats could easily be the top pick for the Best Jet Boat as well as Best Speedboat, since every model in their huge lineup (with over 30 different choices) is powered by high-pressure waterjets. These are incredibly popular boats and you’ll see a wide range of Yamaha boats for rent on Boatsetter, from 19 to 27 feet. All offer sporty performance, fast top-end speeds, and make great boats for watersports as well as just zipping across the lake or bay. Added bonus: with jet drives there’s no propeller in the water, so you can let the kids jump off the back and swim worry-free.

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